Kmart closing

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Corporate officials confirmed Friday that Somerset's Kmart will close after more than 40 years at its Cumberland Square location.

In recent years, it seemed that a new list of Kmart closings were announced at least biannually and our Somerset location was always lucky enough to not make the cut.

On Friday, the local store's luck ran out.

"After careful review, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Kmart store in Somerset, Kentucky," Larry Costello, Public Relations Director for the Sears/Kmart division of Transform Holdco LLC, stated via email. "The liquidation sale is expected to begin in mid-September and the store is planned to close by mid-December. We encourage customers to continue shopping on Kmart.com for all their product needs."

According to that website, Somerset is one of only two Kentucky communities which still has a Kmart after the closings of recent years. It was not immediately clear if the other remaining store — located in Erlanger — will be closing as well.

The Kmart store in Somerset opened in the mid-1970s as the anchor for the Cumberland Square shopping center on East Ky. 80.

The Kmart chain of discount stores was founded in 1962 and peaked at more than 1,500 stores across the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. However, as chains such as Walmart and Target rose to prominence — not to mention the advent of internet shopping — Kmart merged with Sears in 2005 under the new Sears Holdings Corporation but closings continued until the company declared bankruptcy last October. In February, the corporation's assets were acquired by the privately-held Transform Holdco LLC.

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